The Nigerian artist who is exploding the myth of the ‘authentic African experience’

Njideka Akunyili Crosby with her diptych painting Garden, Thriving, 2016. Credit: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

Njideka Akunyili Crosby is walking around the Victoria Miro gallery in east London, calmly examining her paintings. The collaged pictures of herself and her family lie on the floor, waiting to be hung; she brought the last two in her own luggage from Los Angeles, having stayed up all night before the flight to finish them.

She is seven months pregnant with her first baby, though you would barely notice. “People in LA say, ‘what’s your birth plan’, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know!’ My whole mind has just been on this show,” she says, her laughter resonating around the vast white room. She adds that, being from Nigeria, the whole fuss around pregnancy in California seems a little unnecessary. “I’m from the village,” she says, wryly, “and women there seem to give birth just fine without all this stuff.”

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